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Three Must-try Street Food in Hanoi

When visiting Hanoi, one should not miss a chance to enjoy three Vietnamese dishes - banh mi, pho and ca phe da (iced coffee) which have been named on CNN’s list of “50 of the best street foods in Asia”.

Pho is considered a national dish in Vietnam, especially in Hanoi. You can see Hanoians having breakfast at many pho stalls in small alleys and on the main streets. Locals like traditional stalls, such as Tu lun while visitors love to line up at popular pho restaurants like Ly Quoc Su, Bat Dan and Thin to have the noodle soup.

No one knows when pho in Hanoi began but surely everyone knows that pho depends a lot on the experience and secrets of the cook. The broth is the decisive element of a delicious bowl of pho.

The broth of pho in Hanoi is simmered using beef bones and has many spices added to it including, cinnamon, anise, cardamom and coriander seeds and is cooked for several hours. A bowl of pho includes noodles, sliced beef of various types, onions and its special broth gives its signature taste of Hanoi to diners.

Pho is a popular dish of Hanoians.
Opened in 1979, Pho Thin on Lo Duc street, Hanoi serves thousands of diners every day.
Each pho stall in Hanoi has its own secrets to create different tastes.
Diners have diverse options of the meat used in pho.

It is typically served hot with a selection of fresh garnishes, like herbs, bean sprouts, lime, chili sauce, and chili slices so those eating it can tailor the soup to their liking.

After enjoying a bowl of pho, we found a coffee shop. In autumn, it is common to see groups of friends sipping coffee at familiar shops like Lam, Giang, Tho, Yen and Dinh in Hanoi.

We stopped at Dinh café located on the second floor of an old French house, on Dinh Tien Hoang Street. The café is a magnet for people not only for its coffee, but also as a classic space to see French architecture.

Hanoi coffee can be served with many options such as iced black coffee, iced milk coffee, hot black coffee and hot milk coffee. Egg coffee has become a Hanoi specialty which every visitor should try once.

An Indian visitor, Malan said that the coffee culture of Hanoi is very special. One can enjoy coffee on the roadside, in small alleys and in coffee shops. She was impressed by the specific taste and old quarter space of Dinh café.

We left the café to go have lunch and banh mi came first to our minds. After seeing reviews on the internet, we were curious about Banh mi 25 so that is where we went. We were surprised that most of the customers who were in line were foreigners.

 

Dinh café is a magnet for people not only for its coffee, but also as a classic space to see French architecture. .
Cups of egg coffee in Hanoi.
A peaceful space at Yen coffee shop in Hanoi.
Coffee is a popular drink of the majority of Vietnamese people.

The owner of Banh mi 25, Dong Linh Phuong, said that locals are familiar with the sandwiches that use traditional ingredients such as pate, sausage and meat. Banh mi 25 is different because the sandwiches there have many different fillings, meeting the various tastes of different people.

In Hanoi, it only costs between 25,000 - 35,000 dong to buy a banh mi. There are also vegetarian fillings for vegetarians.

Finishing the tour after only having had these three foods and drinks, pho, coffee and banh mi, we understand a little more about the culinary culture of Hanoians in particular and Vietnam in general. We and many foreign visitors have been impressed with the sophisticated cooking, delicate presentation and distinctive flavors.

 

A banh mi stall on Hang Ca street.
There are various fillings for different tastes of banh mi. 
Banh mi is served in different ways. It can be eaten with beef on a hot pan or with other ingredients.

Story: NGAN HA/VNP Photos: KHANH LONG Translated by SONG AN

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